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Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Bias in writing on 11/22/2006 13:47:02 MST Print View

Vlad:
I have been reading the posts here related to your "bais in writing" observations. There is one aspect of this ongoing debate that perhaps has been overlooked by you. There is an active, well-informed and critical readership here on the BPL site that often questions the reviewer's bais or opinion. You have done so. And your bais has been questioned by others and their bais has been questioned as well. Debate is the stuff out which comes true wisdom and knowledge. The catalyst is often a review, but could just as easily be a forum post about one's experience with a particular piece of gear.

I reviewed the Montrail Stratos and Inov8 shoes as being at best sub-optimal for hiking and many posters wrote back that their experience was precisely the oposite. Is one wrong and the other right? We have become a culture that believes that we are engaged in a zero sum game whenever we debate an issue. One is either a true believer or a heratic.

So, take a deep breath and notice that even on this series of posts, not a single poster has ridiculed your "perspective" on the the issue of the East vs the West bais or on down vs wool. BPL posters and, INMHO, the staff accept critical reaction and correction with grace and humor. We are all explorers in the wilderness learning from each other.

Edited by mitchellkeil on 11/22/2006 13:48:51 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Bias in writing on 11/22/2006 13:56:59 MST Print View

Mitchell, after reading your eloquent and insightful post, i just felt that i had to say "thank you" to you for posting such wonderful words.

Vlad Putin
(Primaloft37)

Locale: Radio Free Pineland
Re: Re: Re: re: Bias in writing on 11/22/2006 14:16:51 MST Print View

Vlad,

three things:

1) i notice that you don't have the "badge of honor" (the red 'M') next to your name on your posts. The red 'M' signifies that a person is a "Premium Member" of the BPL.com community.

2) i haven't checked, but it's possible that some of the links that DrJ provided may be premium content and so you wouldn't be able to view and read the fine articles. Again, i haven't taken the time to verify whether this is true or not in even one of the links, so i'm just speaking off the top of my head, but have seen this particular scenario happen before, so am assuming that it might be the case here.

3) this brings me to my point. if you feel that you would like and really make use (which i truly believe in your case you probably will make great use of it) of a BPL Premium Membership, i would like to purchase one for you.

If you are interested in this "no strings attached offer" (well, since i'm so tight and cheap and don't like to waste money, really there is one string attached, viz. you give me your word [one ex-military guy to another - your honor is at stake here] that you have both the time and inclination to really make use of the Premium Membership and read the articles with an open mind , i will be very happy to contact BPL via their support Forums (or DrJ if he reads this Post can post back or PM me) to find out how i can pay and have them apply it to your current non-premium membership.

You seem like a decent guy (though a bit opinionated - i guess it takes one to know one!) with a real interest in backpacking, so i don't think i'm taking much of a risk here that it will turn out that i wasted my time and resources in this instance.

Oh,...plus you get discounts on gear, like tiny lightweight folding Titanium Esbit stoves, at the BPL on-line "store" - i know from your other Posts (haven't missed reading one yet) that this is of interest to you.

So, whada'ya say? Let me know.

sincerely,
pj


EDIT:
Vlad, it just occurred to me that if you don't see this Post soon, i may be unable to reply to you or touch base with BPL regarding my offer until later this coming Sunday, due to some holiday plans. Please don't take my lack of immediate response as a "re-consideration" or a "reneg". I'll check back as often as i can over the next few days - which won't be very often and some of the next few days won't be at all if all plans come off as planned. Have a great holiday yourself. take care, pj
-----------------------------------------

Hi PJ,

Wow I am blown away by your offer to pay for an online subscription of BPL for me. You are a nice guy...thank you for your offer.

Please do not be offended though...I would feel extremely guilty if I accepted the offer. I havent joined BPL online yet, because I havent yet read the "core" ultra-light backpacking books such as "Lighten Up" and Ray Jardine's book and a handful of others. If I joined this online site right now, I would spend too much time reading articles here (its very addicting because I am interested in the subjects).

I have already subscribed to the print edition of BPL. That, along with several books, one of which I just received and Ray Jardine's book is on the way, is enough for me for now.

Once Ive read "Lighten Up" and Ray Jardine's book and maybe my first edition of print BPL, I was planning on subscribing to the online BPL. During the Christmas break probably.

Actually I have already read about half of "Lighten up!" and some of it is very explanatory. I now understand the difference between all these different weights I read you guys talking about on here. And I understand what the cutoff weights are for lightweight, UL and SUL backpacking. I didnt know these "formal" weights until just a day or two...after reading that book.

Some of that book however, I am already vehemently disagreeing with. Although I will go into that later. I am already planning on how I can get an east coast, 5 day long WINTER trip into the UL range.

One thing in the introduction of "Lighten Up!" that didnt surprise me is a warning that ultralight and SUL backpacking isnt intended for winter trips, unless you are very experienced and basically an expert. That would be myself and I can already see how I could get my load into the UL range for a cold weather trip.

Again, thank you for your offer...it is very generous. But I will be subscribing to the online version of BPL soon so I can read all these great articles that I am missing out on.

Ive got to hit the road, have to drive about an hour and a half to see my family for Thanksgiving. It is cold, wet and rainy outside here <grin>.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and pig out!

later,

Vlad

BTW, did you know one of the best ways to stay warm in cold weather is to get a lot of calories into your system? Its almost as important as the right clothing. One "trick" I learned in BSA backpacking is for cold weather backpacking, before you go to bed, melt a pat of butter or margarine or other very high fat food into a mug of hot cocoa. The fat releases "slow burning" calories into your system all night long as you sleep, helping you stay warm on those sub 20 degree F nights.

That could be a "UL" trick to help stay warm.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: Bias in writing on 11/22/2006 14:37:41 MST Print View

Vlad,

Many thanks for replying. Have no worries, no offense taken. I'll keep it as an open offer to you should the need arise.

Have a great Thanksgiving with your family.

Take care,
pj

p.s.
Oh, by the way, i've found out that there are a whole bunch of really nice people on this website - most/all probably much nicer than myself. I think that i could be friends with most of them if they could put up with me and my idiosyncracies. Give them all a chance and you'll come to the same conclusion as i have come to. This place is different than so many other places. There are good people here. I sincerely hope that you will choose to remain and be one of them.

Edited by pj on 11/22/2006 14:42:09 MST.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Re: Wool: warm when wet? on 11/22/2006 15:24:40 MST Print View

Vlad writes >> Also, lets be realistic here. How often do backpackers ever let themselves become soaked to the pore? If it happens, either youve been on a river somewhere or an accident has occurred such as stepping off into a large stream or river. <<

Actually I have on several occasions, most notably during my PCT thru-hike while traversing around Glacier Peak in the North Cascades of Washington. After a long night of rain, I awoke to dreary morning of rain and fog. The first challenge of the day was a 2500 foot climb to the top of a ridge through an over grown avalanche shoot. Since it was late summer and all the plants were dying, they lay across the trail requiring me to literally swim my way through the vegetation. It wasn’t long before I was totally drenched to the core.

By the time I topped the ridge into to the open, the rain had turned to snow and I entered a whiteout. The rest of that 25 mile day was spent hiking either through the snow on open ridges or through the rainy valley. I covered the 25 miles with one 10 minute break because stopping for any significant time would have meant setting up shelter and changing to dry clothes. Walking generates heat which kept me going.

What I wore on that occasion was a pair of nylon shorts with nylon rain pants (more for wind protection than to keep dry). On top I had a base layer of long sleeve silk tee shirt, Suplex nylon shirt and Frogg Toggs jacket (again for wind protection). While wool may have kept me slightly warmer it would have made no difference in the outcome of the hike. Once I arrived in camp, I setup my shelter, replace my wet clothes with dry ones and crawled into my down sleeping bag.

>> You are arguing against everything that’s ever been said about wool clothing. <<

From what I’ve read, no one’s arguing against wool clothes. If that’s your choice, it’s perfectly fine. What people have been saying is that with proper understanding, wool isn’t your only option. The knowledgeable hiker learns that not wearing wool isn’t a death sentence anymore than wearing cotton is.

The role of Backpacking Light to enlighten people that there are often many solutions to a given problem. Over the years, too much of traditional backpacking turned into a dogma of uniform and safe thought and practice. Even when Jardine wrote his tome about ultralight, he fell into the trap of my way or the highway train of thought. With new solutions to problems coming out on almost a daily basis, we are finally getting beyond the notion that there’s only one way of doing things.

Sometimes we’ll read other people solutions of how they solve a problem. We’ll try it out only to discover it doesn’t work for us. Still that doesn’t make it any less viable. I love it when I see a post of a new solution, even if it’s not my cup of tea. But I absolutely hate it when someone gets online and starts spouting fiats about what is or isn’t proper backcountry gear. None of us are Gods, fortunately the lawyers haven’t found these forums yet and I’m way too old to worry about what my folks think.

A calm query into the rational behind why someone chose one solutions over another is perfectly fine and contributes to our overall understanding. However, demands that people conform to some prescribed set of beliefs is neither informative or appreciated.

Ron Moak

Vlad Putin
(Primaloft37)

Locale: Radio Free Pineland
Re: Re: Re: Wool: warm when wet? on 11/22/2006 19:12:21 MST Print View

Vlad writes >> Also, lets be realistic here. How often do backpackers ever let themselves become soaked to the pore? If it happens, either youve been on a river somewhere or an accident has occurred such as stepping off into a large stream or river. <<

Actually I have on several occasions, most notably during my PCT thru-hike while traversing around Glacier Peak in the North Cascades of Washington. After a long night of rain, I awoke to dreary morning of rain and fog. The first challenge of the day was a 2500 foot climb to the top of a ridge through an over grown avalanche shoot. Since it was late summer and all the plants were dying, they lay across the trail requiring me to literally swim my way through the vegetation. It wasn’t long before I was totally drenched to the core.
------------------------------------

You should have been wearing wool, Ron.
--------------------------------------

By the time I topped the ridge into to the open, the rain had turned to snow and I entered a whiteout. The rest of that 25 mile day was spent hiking either through the snow on open ridges or through the rainy valley. I covered the 25 miles with one 10 minute break because stopping for any significant time would have meant setting up shelter and changing to dry clothes. Walking generates heat which kept me going.

What I wore on that occasion was a pair of nylon shorts with nylon rain pants (more for wind protection than to keep dry). On top I had a base layer of long sleeve silk tee shirt, Suplex nylon shirt and Frogg Toggs jacket (again for wind protection). While wool may have kept me slightly warmer it would have made no difference in the outcome of the hike. Once I arrived in camp, I setup my shelter, replace my wet clothes with dry ones and crawled into my down sleeping bag.
---------------------------------------


Wow...you are lucky to be alive. I would argue with you on one point though, wool would have kept you A LOT warmer than what you had on. Not "slightly warmer" than what you had on.

>> You are arguing against everything that’s ever been said about wool clothing. <<

From what I’ve read, no one’s arguing against wool clothes. If that’s your choice, it’s perfectly fine.

---------------------------------------

Wait a minute Ron, I have been reading a lot of stuff in UL literature that denigrates trusty old wool and hypes up goose down and synthetics. There is a strong argument, implied or otherwise, in UL circles, against wool. Because wool is heavier than down or synthetics.
----------------------------------------

What people have been saying is that with proper understanding, wool isn’t your only option. The knowledgeable hiker learns that not wearing wool isn’t a death sentence anymore than wearing cotton is.
---------------------------------------

In a cold, wet environment Ron, cotton clothing is a poor choice. There are certain fabrics which are simply better than others for specific environments. For cold wet...wool has always been...and always will be a prime contender.
----------------------------------------
--------------------------------------

Yeah, Ray Jardine this, Ray Jardine that. I dont care about Ray Jardine. I am going to read his book, yes. But only so I can learn and "talk the talk" in UL and SUL circles. Otherwise, I could care less about the guy.

I was doing long distance, lightweight backpacking long before anybody ever heard of Ray Jardine and his book.

----------------------------------------

The role of Backpacking Light to enlighten people that there are often many solutions to a given problem. Over the years, too much of traditional backpacking turned into a dogma of uniform and safe thought and practice.
---------------------------------------

Traditional backpacking served me well for many, many years Ron. Lightweight backpacking is a variation of traditional backpacking and it existed long before Ray Jardine, this website or you. UL and SUL is relatively new and thats why I am here. But I have a problem with recommending goose down clothing to a person going into a cold wet environment.


Maybe if you had been able to go to Philmont in the mid seventies as a youth and perhaps did the Kit Carson Trek, you would have learned about lightweight backpacking as far back as the mid seventies. The Kit Carson program was the predecessor program to the present Rayado Trek program at Philmont Scout Ranch. I believe on your website you said your first attempt on the AT failed at 700 miles and weight was a big factor on having to stop?

I did 400 miles is slightly less than six weeks at Philmont Scout Ranch when I was only 16 and that was at much higher altitude than anywhere on the AT. I was doing lightweight backpacking then and Id never heard of Ray Jardine or "UL."

I wasnt wasted or trashed at the end either...I could have easily gone on for another 500 miles or so after a few days rest and a lot of food.
---------------------------------------


Even when Jardine wrote his tome about ultralight, he fell into the trap of my way or the highway train of thought. With new solutions to problems coming out on almost a daily basis, we are finally getting beyond the notion that there’s only one way of doing things.
---------------------------------------

More Ray Jardine...
---------------------------------------

Sometimes we’ll read other people solutions of how they solve a problem. We’ll try it out only to discover it doesn’t work for us. Still that doesn’t make it any less viable. I love it when I see a post of a new solution, even if it’s not my cup of tea. But I absolutely hate it when someone gets online and starts spouting fiats about what is or isn’t proper backcountry gear. None of us are Gods, fortunately the lawyers haven’t found these forums yet and I’m way too old to worry about what my folks think.
---------------------------------------

Dont worry about it Ron...if one of your "folks" sues you for some bs reason, you can always file the insanity plea.
I can tell you this though, if I was a newbie backpacker and some salesperson talked me into "this is the best goose down parka ever" and I bought it and went out, got it soaked and ended up with hypothermia and maybe in the hospital, I would be wanting to sue their ass off. Especially if I ran into a guy like me who said "I told you so, goose down sucks for cold wet backpacking. That company is being negligent pushing that expensive crap on people."

I am sorry my posts have angered you Ron. But have you ever heard of the saying "always go back to the basics?" Its a very simple and useful guideline to go by. Its another way of saying, "keep it KISS." Wool is as KISS as you can get.
---------------------------------------

A calm query into the rational behind why someone chose one solutions over another is perfectly fine and contributes to our overall understanding. However, demands that people conform to some prescribed set of beliefs is neither informative or appreciated.
---------------------------------------

Have you ever heard of the United States Constitution, Ron? Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press? I will post as I see fit here and elsewhere. If you dont like me saying "wool is the best for cold wet backpacking," then block me or dont read my posts. I will proceed to be irrational if I see fit.

Actually, if you had read my posts closer, you would see what I am trying to get to. I am trying to make UL and possibly SUL work for specific types of wintertime backpacking. Even this Don Ladigen guy posts a disclaimer in his book "Lighten Up!" that UL is not generally recommended in winter or at high altitudes and if it is used for such, the person should be very confident in his gear and clothing and experienced.

I feel very confident about using a tarp in the winter, I feel very confident about using a goose down sleeping bag in the winter and I feel very confident about using a lightweight or ultralightweight backpack in the winter. I can reduce my total pack weight a lot this way.

However, I am very unconfident with taking goose down clothing on long distance backpacking trips in the winter, where here on the East coast we get cold rains, freezing rains, sleet and if it snows, usually its a wet snow. That is bad judgment. If it adds a little bit of weight, I DONT CARE!

On the other hand, I am very confident with bringing wool clothing on above said backpacking trips. You cant try to pound a round peg into a square hole.

I have no beef with you Ron.

Vlad

Vlad Putin
(Primaloft37)

Locale: Radio Free Pineland
Re: Re: Re: Re: Wool: warm when wet? on 11/22/2006 23:38:59 MST Print View

>Dont worry about it Ron...if one of >your "folks" sues you for some bs >reason, you can always file the >insanity plea.

Hey man, when I typed this earlier, I put in <joke> LOL, but it didnt post that way. I dont know why, several things didnt come out right in that post.

Like this:

"Dont worry about it Ron...if one of your "folks" sues you for some bs reason, you can always file the insanity plea. <joke> LOL"

Sorry for any misunderstanding or insult on that one.

Vlad

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wool: warm when wet? on 11/22/2006 23:56:15 MST Print View

Vlad, your "joke" didn't work because these posts follow HTML syntax.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wool: warm when wet? on 11/23/2006 00:46:53 MST Print View

Vlad,

It's difficult to tell from your writing style whether you’re trying to be serious or attempting to be humorous. In any case I’m not going to get in a *BEEP* match because in the end everyone just reeks and nothing is accomplished.

I would like to correct a couple of inadequacies in your comments about my ’77 AT hike. My wife and I completed the hike in 4.5 months becoming the first couple to south bound the AT. We didn’t bail after 700 miles. My ’97 hike with my wife and son was only 700 miles and that was all that was planned. My wife did leave early after blowing out her knees in the White Mountains. My son and I continued on to Katahdin.

By the way, my thirteen year old son did the 700 miles in 8 weeks of hiking on the AT trip. Then at 16 he hiked some 1200 miles with me on the PCT in 10 weeks of hiking, during which he climbed a 14,500 foot peak, crossed numerous snow choked 10,000 to 12,000 foot passes and hiked 30 mile days for weeks on end.

In ’77 our packs had a max weight of 35 pounds with 10 days of food. Our base weight was well under 20 with cold weather gear and under 15 with summer gear. This was 20 years before the UL movement took hold and using traditional packs, tents and sleeping gear.

And yes you’re right lightweight and even ultralight backpacking as been around for a long long time. Or perhaps you've never heard of Grandma Gatewood and numerous other characters.

Ron

Edited by rmoak on 11/23/2006 01:13:21 MST.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Re: Wool: warm when wet? on 11/23/2006 03:33:16 MST Print View

Although I do not like the negative tone of Vlad in most of his post, I do feel like he is a lone wool-warrior facing an army of synthetics.

So I would like to second his opinions on wool over synthetics.

I have tried several synthetic shirts and was always cold after a period of high exursion (ie climbing a hill or mountain). I never ever had this experience with wool.

Don't worry Vlad, we're now two lone (though a little less lonely) warriors facing an army of synthetics.

Eins

Edited by EinsteinX on 11/23/2006 09:50:10 MST.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Me thinks they doth protest too much! on 11/23/2006 09:40:48 MST Print View

Einstein X,

Doing a quick review of wool discussions of the various in-depth articles and forums on this site leads me to believe this is has morphed into the old “Mountain from a Mole Hill”.

I’ve yet to read anyone say that wool isn’t a good insulator. As Ryan pointed out, there are numerous articles written on this site both praising wool and doing an in-depth comparison between wool and its synthetic competitors.

While I don’t personally have any wool clothes in my backpacking kit, I’m certainly not apposed to wool. I wore it for many years cross country skiing during the winters in the Cascades or cruising timber in coast range in the late fall.

As I said before, I don’t have a problem if people chose to include wool clothes as part of their UL kit. I do have problems when people imply that wool is the only option. That kind of statement simply attempts to shut down discussion and contributes little to our understanding of the nature of cold and insulation.

Ron

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Me thinks they doth protest too much! on 11/23/2006 13:59:59 MST Print View

I agree with Ron. I don't think there is an anti-wool bias here at all. In general, I think this site has far less bias than most. I can't think of any backpacking organization (including much larger ones like Backpacker Magazine) which has done as much scientific research about outdoor gear as these folks have (I don't think it is even close). Has anyone else done a side by side comparison of wool versus synthetic (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/comfort_moisture_transport_wool_synthetic_clothing.html)?
Far from being anti-wool, I think this site has made me consider wool as a base layer.

If you walk into the main REI store in Seattle, you will not be pushed toward down. You will probably not be pushed towards wool either. The main reason REI doesn't push down is because they know that in this climate, you have to be very, very careful about using down. The main reason they don't push wool is because it hasn't (until recently) been considered "cutting edge". If you want to save your money, you'll walk across downtown and stop by the army/navy surplus store and buy lots of great wool clothes for very little money. But here is the weird part: If you walk across the street from REI, you will walk right into Feathered Friends. How can this be? A store dedicated to down, right in the middle of the most down-unfriendly place in entire U.S. (it rains a lot here, in case you weren't aware). The fact is, down weighs less than synthetic (still) so they can sell high quality down to people who know how to be careful about using it. Any suggestion, then, that this site has a pro-down bias because of it's location is rather silly.

Wool, synthetic and down all have their pluses and minuses. BPL sells all three, so I fail to see why they would want to be biased towards one (the cocoon is made with synthetic insulation not down).

In short, this site was created by scientists and tries to take a scientific approach whenever possible. Of course you will read an occasional review and wonder "why did they praise that garment when there others that are just as good" but to do otherwise would result in a very boring, dry web site. To accuse the writers of a general bias is rather silly, especially since Vlad has failed to come with an alternative that provides anywhere near the sort of fact-based writing that this site does.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
BPL Made Me Use WOOL! on 11/23/2006 20:45:03 MST Print View

To echo Ross....Two years ago when I discovered UL backpacking and the BPL web site I had given little thought to what I wore backpacking. Now, I had been backpacking for over 40 years, but I always just took a bunch of long sleeve cotton shirts and Tee's and generally wore cotton painter' pants due to there loose fit. Oh, and some kind of a coat and rain gear. Sometimes I would throw in some long johns if there was a chance of really cold weather. Apparently dumb luck kept me from dying of hypothermia over those 40 years according to what I know now.

After finding this site, I read everything I could for free and realized that somehow I had stumbled on to a place on the web where science and objectivity were actually used to evaluate gear. I subscribed immediately. Hey, no advertising--these guys were putting there money where their mouth was!

So the first thing I figured was that the fastest way I could reduce my pack weight was to lose all those shirts and Tee's. I read up on Clothing Systems here. Choosing individual items based on function, value, and weight. Careful choices, it seemed, would let me take only a few items that would work together and separately for a full range of conditions.

It is BECAUSE of what I read on BPL that I wear a merino WOOL baselayer. An UL wind jacket and Patagonia Puff jacket with Dry Ducks rain gear. I chose WOOL based on the objective detail that Ryan listed above and I have been surprised at the range of conditions and how comfortable this combo has turned out to be. YMMV

Come on! Most of our choices for gear are based on hearsay, opinion, and yes- advertising, On BPL we can get technical articles on things like mechanics and material characteristics of natural and synthetic fibers or waterproof breathable fabrics, or head to head reviews of shelters, clothing, sleep systems, etc. The Pros and Cons are listed up front in most articles. Biases can be ascertained by the observant reader and taken into consideration.

You will have to look pretty hard to find a less biased site than this in terms of the official magazine reviews and materials information articles, and the general clientele are pretty good, too. Check around "You'd be surprised..."

Edited by markhurd on 11/24/2006 21:48:48 MST.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re: BPL made me use wool/ me too on 11/23/2006 22:11:59 MST Print View

Mark, I second your thoughts. Before I subscribed to BPL my kit was 100% synthetic except for thick wool hiking socks. Now I have a balance of wool, down, and synthetics which I have the knowledge to choose from, depending on temperature, water exposure, levels of layering, etc.. And I promote this balance of materials to reduce weight and risk, with any fellow hikers willing to listen.

Before subscribing to BPL, and learning from its posters (including even our opinionated friend Vlad) my ignorance on hiking subjects was astounding. Now I am able to advise newbies in an educated manner..

I don't wear a wool rain shell or use a wool bathing suit as I suspect Vlad the 'wool warrior' does (<joke>), but I promote merino as an excellent base layer. Just one subject I have learned much about here at BPL.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: re: BPL made me use wool/ me too on 11/24/2006 00:29:44 MST Print View

"I have a balance of wool, down, and synthetics which I have the knowledge to choose from, depending on temperature, water exposure, levels of layering, etc.. "

Brett, that sums it up so well! Like the majority of previous posters I have felt no anti-wool bias here. I think I've been a member here for 2 years now and have read all the content. I hope Vlad will revisit his opinion on biased writing after he's become a member and had a chance to read the premium content, some of which he was critical of. By the way, I'm a fellow "wooly". I have been wearing wool socks, underwear and shirts every day, with few exceptions, for 2 years now. If I could just find the right wool pants.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:bias in writing hijacked to 'wool' on 11/24/2006 01:08:47 MST Print View

Eric; I agree, I have not seen any malicious biasing here, including towards wool.

Maybe if Vlad is reading this he can recommend a wool pant which wont weigh a ton when wet..
Like you, I would like to find a suitable wool hiking pant; they are either too heavy, too expensive, or too..well look here.. only $239!
yarn dyed Burton wool pants

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: BPL Made Me Use WOOL! on 11/24/2006 02:51:40 MST Print View

Same here.

I always used wool when i was younger. The "graduated" to synths since that was what the marketing hype told me that i should do.

Still used wool for shirts, jackets, and pants, but NOT base layers.

BPL "made" me try them again in "micro" weight merino wool. Truly excellent stuff.

Right now, i could go either way on mid-weight wool mid-layers vs. mid-weight synth mid-layers, and i still try both trying to settle on a "standard" (i.e., a "standard" for me personally). Do i want more absorption, heavier weight and slower drying, hence warmer? Or, do i want lighter, faster drying, hence more chilling? Perhaps it depends upon the time of year?

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re: BIAS and wool on 11/24/2006 04:22:55 MST Print View

p j,
"Do i want more absorption, heavier weight and slower drying, hence warmer? Or, do i want lighter, faster drying, hence more chilling? Perhaps it depends upon the time of year?"

Wow, you just summed up the wool/synth. choice in two sentences; excellent. At his point I think wool is my choice for the coldest 9 months (lets call that a "reverse 3 season" item), and synthetics to cool during the warmest 3 months. That 9/3 ratio might change as I learn about its capabilities.

We have hijacked Vlad's BIAS thread, so I am going to open a thread on "Going Wool?" or something similar, so we can assist eachother with this conversion back to light weight natural fabrics.. see you there..

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Pro-wool not anti-wool? on 12/05/2006 14:31:08 MST Print View

"I have been reading a lot of stuff in UL literature that denigrates trusty old wool and hypes up goose down and synthetics. There is a strong argument, implied or otherwise, in UL circles, against wool. Because wool is heavier than down or synthetics."

You need to start reading articles on this site. I believe you'll find more of a pro-wool bias than another other place.

In fact, the old backpacking light 101 document/manifesto written years ago by RJ and AD talks about wool quite a bit.

This site, and most enlighten, UL hikers are far more pro-wool than you think. Now if you are talking about using wool as an insulating layer, that will never happen. It is too heavy. But as a base layer. I'd say this site is almost 60/40 in favor of wool over synthetics. In fact, I sometimes have found the pro-wool bias on this site a bit too much. Though, recently, it has been toned down a bit.

I'm not sure what UL literature you have been reading, but I haven't read one yet (and I have read quite a few) that are anti-wool (for base layers).

Edited by tlbj6142 on 12/05/2006 14:35:45 MST.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Dittos on wool, no bias in BPL fabric on 12/05/2006 16:01:10 MST Print View

Dittos to a bunch above comments re: no particular bias here.

I am getting back into wool, for base layer especially, precisely because of the communications on this site and the intelligence of the BPL articles, analyses, and member postings discussing gear.